Reindeer at Santa Barbara Zoo for the Holiday Season, November 22 to January 1

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For the first time in its 54-year history, the Santa Barbara Zoo will exhibit reindeer, on view only this holiday season from Wednesday, November 22, 2017, to Monday, January 1, 2018.

Two male reindeer, an adult named Holiday and a first-year calf named Lightning, will take up residence on the lawn opposite the Cats of Africa exhibit for holiday viewing. Winter-themed and holiday-related activities take place throughout the season, and Santa will be available for gift requests and photos on Wednesdays through Sundays from November 22 until Christmas Eve, December 24. There is no extra charge to view the reindeer.

The Zoo is open with the special hours of 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. It is open regular hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Lightning and Holiday allow the Zoo to help answer questions from local children such as: Do reindeer really exist?  What’s the difference between a caribou and a reindeer?  Do both male and female reindeer get antlers?  What’s the difference between antlers and horns? How big are their antlers? Do they make sounds? Can they fly?

The two reindeer are on loan from Windswept Ranch, located in the foothills above Antelope Valley near Tehachapi, California. The facility is home to a collection of animals including camels, llamas, zebra, alpacas, sheep, goats, horses, deer, and reindeer. Many of the animals have been rescued or rehabilitated. For more information, visit

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission is $17 for adults,

$13 for seniors aged 65+, $10 for children 2-12, and children under 2 are free. 

Parking is $7 weekdays, $10 on Saturdays and Sundays.